Worried about your kids and their devices?
You are not alone.
In fact, I have been working on this issue as a parent for many years. Phones and computers are tools to do homework, but they also introduce ongoing distractions that prevent homework from being done. They also seem to isolate our kids in a digital world. They change the way their brains are wired.
So do we just take them away? Not if you need them to do their homework. Homework these days REQUIRES a computer, etc. . . Plus our kids NEED devices to some extent to interact socially with their peers.
Thankfully, there are a few old solutions. On the Windows PC side of the world, there is Microsoft Family Safety. It’s not great, but it’s better than nothing, and it can limit screen time, block access to certain websites and programs, etc. . . In the Mac/Iphone/IPad world, there are programs like Qustodio and devices like Circle, but something new is coming NEXT WEEK that will change everything.
APPLE FINALLY OFFERS US A WAY TO CONTROL THIS!
For those of you who use Apple devices, the fix is coming next week. The new version of Apple’s operating system for iPhones and iPads, iOS12, is being released next week and will include a number of features to protect your kids from themselves.
What it includes?
- SCREEN TIME TRACKING – You and your kids can finally see and understand where the time goes. . . this can be a great starting point for discussions on how to manage it or a starting point for setting limits. It will actually work since it’s built into the phone!
- APP LIMITS – put a limit on time spent for any particular app. Are they on Snapchat 6 hours a day? Let them know they’ll only be allowed 2 and the phone will enforce it. I believe that it will allow them to ask you for exceptions when needed too, so you can easily give them a little extra time if they need it. (without dealing with SETTINGS!)
- DOWNTIME – It allows you to specify times that devices won’t be usable for your kids. You can turn off those pesky phones during dinner or at night-time, and good news, you can allow certain apps to still function. This way, they can still use the music app to play music while they do homework.
Rather than write volumes about it here, I found a great article on Common Sense Media’s website that explains the upcoming changes. CLICK HERE TO READ IT
Why am I writing to you about this? This change is coming next week, will automatically install on all your Apple devices, and needs to be set up to work properly. I can make sure your family set-up is ready for this change and I can help you set it up. I’m sure most of you can figure this out on your own, but do you want to do it alone? I can help you get it done and done right. It’s not just a tech issue, there are a lot of issues that you might want to discuss and work through and tie together with how your life works. I don’t have all the answers, but we can set up the tools. In the end, you’d tell me how you want to use them. And you’ll be able to manage it on your own once we are done.